субота, 27 серпня 2016 р.

#45daysofblogging 09: fun times in Debrecen

In April I've visited Hungary for the second time. First time I went there in 2014 for the Coucil of Europe study session on gender-based violence and fell head over hills with Budapest, even though I barely had any time to walk around (on the way back I had to pay 45 euro to Wizzair monster, because my suitcase was 2 mm bigger than their frame, and then searched in Bergamo, because... wait for it... I had to many books in my suitcase. Honestly, I don't even want to comment on this)

Sorry, couldn't help myself. Aren't we adorable? Ice-breaking activities at their best!

But this time I had a chance to see a smaller Hungarian city, and I loved it a lot too. It's so very different from Budapest, but has so many nice features that I can honestly recommend it to those who want to really discover Hungary and spend a few days in a quiet, charming and beautiful little city.

пʼятниця, 26 серпня 2016 р.

#45daysofblogging 08: 100 things about me - part 1/5

100 things about me has to be one of my favorite types of posts and youtube videos. But I never thought that finding even 20 interesting fact about myself will make me drink endless cups of tea and look through all the old photos I have. 


But I did it! So here is the first part of my "100 things about me" series: 

1. I was born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine. 

2. My name was given to me by my dad, who had this name in mind and didn’t listen to anyone.

3. BTW, my name is exactly the same as name Marina, but in Ukrainian transcription it’s Maryna.

4. I’m bilingual, as in my family we always spoke both Ukrainian and Russian.

четвер, 25 серпня 2016 р.

#45daysofblogging 07: Happy Independence Day, Ukraine!

I cannot imagine the better way to celebrate my first full week of blogging than with the post about my country, as we celebrate the 25th year of independence.

For most of the world this day doesn't hold this much meaning, but for us, Ukrainians, it means a lot. 25 years ago out country became independent for basically first time in about 600 years. For the first time Ukrainian language, that was banned 134 times in the period of 400 years, became a national language. 


I actually aspired to write a really deep meaningful post today. About my memories of Soviet Union, about the story of my family, that was always very patriotic despite all odds (one of my uncles actually went to prison twice for remembering that he is Ukrainian). About the day of the referendum, when I was asking everyone who was coming to our house: "What did you vote for?!" (if they were responding: "For Ukraine", they were allowed to come in). I don't think I fully realized what was going on (after all, I was only 6 years old), but I knew that it was important. And also I knew that it was about being who we are, and being free. 

I was growing up bilingual, among people that believed in our history and our future. I was spending long hours in lines outside of grocery stores to buy necessary things - bread, milk, matches. I had no idea what Christmas was and the first time I heard about Easter I was around 5-6 years old. We had two tastes of ice-cream available (which was okay) and no toilet paper (which was not, but thanks to this situation every child in my kindergarten knew the word "deficit" by the time we turned 4).

When me and my parents we were leaving Czechoslovakia to go back to Ukraine (which at that time was still a part of the USSSR), one of my teachers gave us all the new school books. One of them had the anthem of USSR on the first page. I stared at it for a bit and said to the teacher: "I will not need this book, I'm going to be back in Ukraine in a few weeks". She shushed at me and told me that the schools are the same everywhere. For some reason I remember this moment very clearly, even though I had no idea about what was going to happen in a few month. I just remember being very sure - this school book is not for me, I will never need it. And I never did.  

So I really wanted t write a long serious post about this. But after a few hours gave up - I was just blankly staring at my laptop and making endless cups of tea. Sometimes your memories, ideas and motivations become too overwhelming to write anything descent, and sometimes it's really good to let them take the lead. 

So I just want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone, who made all of this possible 25 years ago, I knew, how scary and unsure it was - my generation had and still has a very different battles to fight, but that first one was the inspiration behind it all. 

I want to thank everyone who's fighting for Ukraine today. To everyone in the war zone (because yes, there's still the war in the East of Ukraine, and it's been going non-stop for 2,5 years now - I know, you don't hear about it from your news, and I'm really sorry about it, the world becomes more and more blind with every second). To everyone who's working in the area close to the war zone.To every Ukrainian hero that was at the parade today. 

I want to thank all the higher powers for this 25 years - difficult, different and still full of hope,even during the darkest hours. 

And I want to wish us all a peaceful sky and a great bright future. The future, in which little girls are not spending 2 hour in queue to buy milk. And little boys don't write later to their fathers, who went to war.

середа, 24 серпня 2016 р.

#45daysofblogging 06: the best brownie ever

Welcome to day 6!

Today's post is inspired by the amazing cooking/baking evening I had with my friends and flatmates tonight. The idea was not only to cook and eat, but also to learn from each other, as I've never made a tiramisu o rustico (the traditional dish of Lecce - puff pastry pockets, full of tomato sauce, bechamel and mozzarella)  before, and my friends have never baked a brownie.


So, after all those dishes were made and eaten (except for tiramisu - it rests in the fridge to become a perfect bella vita breakfast for tomorrow), I realized that the brownie recipe I used is awesome enough to dedicate one day of #45daysofblogging to it. I'm actually considering sharing more recipes, as I really love to cook and collect recipes like this - simple and delicious.

My food philosophy is simple - I love is fresh, easy and with minimum of ingredients. This brownie was the absolute favorite dessert in our volunteer apartment a year ago (thank you, Daria, it changed my life). Now every time I feel like being a classy lady, I bake it for people and it never let me down.

So, you will only need 5 ingredients - 1 chocolate bar (about 100 gr, the darker the better), 125 gr of unsalted butter, 2 eggs, about half a cup of sugar (I use less, but it comes with experience and many experiments) and about a cup of flour (the same thing - I never measure, just eyeball it).

Put a pot on a small fire and leave your chocolate and butter to slowly melt together into a wonderfully smelling goodness. Beat up the eggs with the sugar, add the flour. Put both mixtures together, make sure you have no lumps and put in on a buttered baking sheet. Bake on 150 degrees for about 20 minutes until ready. Eat with coffee or tea and enjoy. You can also serve it with whipped cream or crushed nuts on top.

That's it. Simple, fast and delicious, just how I like it. Now it's one of my favorite deserts, together with apple cinnamon (my family classic) and pumpkin and lemon pies.

I hope this was a useful post and a nice alternative to traveling posts.

See you tomorrow! 

вівторок, 23 серпня 2016 р.

#45daysofblogging 05: the new face of Milan

Welcome to day 5!

Today I want to tell you a bit about Milan. This year I've managed to visit it twice - on my way to Sweden and on the way back to Palermo. So you probably already saw my post on what to do in Milan is you only have a few hours.


But this post will be a bit different, as during my last time there I wanted to find the answers to the major questions, that are really torturing me and all of my foreign friends, who also live in the South of Italy - why people are either in love with Milan or hate it, and, which is the most important, why in Milan they call cornetto brioche?!

понеділок, 22 серпня 2016 р.

#45daysofblogging 04: Valdemone festival in Pollina

Welcome to the day 4!

Yesterday I suddenly got a chance to visit the annual festival of street theater called Valdemone for the first time. The first time I've heard about it two years ago, when I was still a volunteer - every bar in Palermo had the festival's sticker on walls, doors, mirrors etc.


But as I don't drive, have no car and at that point had no idea where is Pollina, I just admired the cute vintage bicycle on the logo and wished for one of the stickers to put on my laptop. And forgot about it for two years.Until yesterday, when I was invited to visit the festival's last day.

субота, 20 серпня 2016 р.

#45daysofblogging 03: beautiful Helsingborg

Welcome to day 3! Today I will tell you about a gloomy day in a beautiful cozy Helsingborg and show you some photos, as I made quite a few.


Helsingborg is a small city in the South of Sweden, that I already mentioned in my first post of #45daysofblogging. As we spent a week in Örkelljunga, which is very charming, but also very little, it was very nice to a bigger city and feel it's atmosphere a bit.

пʼятниця, 19 серпня 2016 р.

#45daysofblogging 02: using the best things you have

Welcome to the chatty day 2!

Today’s post was supposed to be dedicated to the one-day trip to Helsingborg that I’ve mentioned yesterday. But this morning, as I was making my breakfast, an unopened pack of coffee made me think about another topic I really want to address. So there’s a slight change of plans (I promise, I will explain the coffee later).


As my blog is dedicated not only to travels or fashion, I’ve wrote quite a few pieces on minimalism before. To me using your best things is one of the key ideas of minimalism and happier life.

четвер, 18 серпня 2016 р.

#45daysofblogging 01: quiet beauty of the Swedish countryside

So welcome to the day 1 of my crazy ambitious blogging marathon!

As I promised you a few posts ago, this post is dedicated to the Swedish village I had a chance to visit in March. I have to admit - Sweden stole my heart in the first few hours. So in this post you will find a lot of love and admiration for the aesthetics and the beauty of Swedish nature, houses and life overall. Also it's a great post to have a drinking game with - take a shot every time you see words "beauty", "beautiful" and "aesthetic"!


I went to Sweden to participate in a seminar on migration, which is my field of research and work. You already know that my first stop on the way there was in Copenhagen. From there I took a train and in a few hours was in Helsingborg (I will tell you about my visit there in a few days).

середа, 17 серпня 2016 р.

Project: 45 days of blogging

Yes. Yes! I know, I'm crazy, but I'm in a need of a personal project for these days, as I am literally one of the three people, who stayed in Palermo for Ferragosto time.


* Note for people who are new to this - Ferragosto is an Italian holiday, celebrated at the same time as the Catholic holiday of Assumption of Mary (as far as I know, as I'm not a Catholic). But celebrations of Ferragosto have basically nothing to do with religion. As August tends to be the hottest summer month, especially here, on the South, it's also a time for a long vacation. People are going to their summer villas, offices and shops are closing, and police pretends to control at least something in Palermo (which manifests in them closing two or three beer places for a few hours every night). 

So, as I'm left alone, face to face with August heat, closed bars (not the ones you go for a happy hour to, but the Italian ones - where you have your coffee and cornetto every morning) and my PhD research, I am in a desperate need of something creative to do, apart from staring at the questionnaire, that I really need to finish by September.

I know it will require a lot of discipline and prioritizing, but I was travelling a lot this year, and almost never blogged about it. So I know that if I won't do it now, I'll probably never do it. So expect a lot of photos, travel notes, packing guidelines and thoughts on minimalism, living a happy life and living in a foreign country. 

See you tomorrow!